By now the celebrated words of Ernesto ""Che"" Guevara concerning revolutionary Christians have echoed round the world: ""When Christians dare to give a total revolutionary witness, the Latin American revolution will be invincible, seeing that until now Christians have allowed their teaching to be manipulated by reactionaries."" Echoing the same thoughts Fidel Castro is no less forceful: ""A Christian who adheres to Christian preaching in its purest form, will not side with the exploiters, nor with the bourgeoisie, nor with those who cause injustice, hunger and misery"".
At a camp for young people near Argentina's second city, Rosario, I was one of the speakers, as amongst other things, a student of Marxism. Although the subject I was developing was certain aspects of Paul's theology, right at the beginning of the question time which followed a young girl student of law asked why it was that Marxism exercised such an influence on succeeding generations of people, particularly the young. How could we account for its great power of attraction and how should Christians respond to this phenomenom?
Any attempt to understand Marxism as a challenge to the Christian church, whether in Africa or anywhere else, must bear in mind its origin and its nature. Its place in history is to be seen as part of the broader Socialist movement which has its roots in the French Revolution, and in the disappointments which men and women in Europe experienced when the liberte, egalite and fraternite, which they had longed for, did not materialise, either in the course of the Revolution itself or during the reign of Napoleon.